Defenders of Wildlife Reviews | Glassdoor

Defenders of Wildlife Reviews

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2.4
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Jamie Rappaport Clark
18 Ratings

27 Employee Reviews

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  1. Helpful (1)

    "Intern Review"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Kind and encouraging staff
    Open to ideas
    Good communication with interns and employees
    Willing to let interns take control of their projects

    Cons

    None that I can think of

    Defenders of Wildlife Response

    Aug 17, 2016 – Chief Operating Officer

    Thank you for your comments. I'm glad that you had a successful internship and that you were empowered to grow during your time with us. I hope you are feeling better prepared for a career in the... More


  2. Helpful (10)

    "Good people, poor management"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Defenders of Wildlife full-time

    Pros

    Defenders has a fantastic mission with dedicated staff who are easy to befriend.

    Cons

    Senior management is out of touch with the concerns of staff. Attrition is extremely high, morale is extremely low, and opportunities for career advancement or any type professional development are few and far between. Pay is low and opportunities for raises are also few and far between. There is also inequity in pay and opportunities for promotions and titles changes between departments which creates stress and resentment.

    Advice to Management

    Senior management has done nothing to address the serious morale and attrition problems, but has instead spent time denying that the organization has these issues. Your staff isn't leaving to "be with family" or because they were "offered promotions," your staff is leaving because the work environment is demoralizing. Defenders should make an effort to at least make staff feel as though they are heard. Conduct surveys and interviews to better understand these issues. Interact with your staff. Remember some of the names of your staff. Make an effort to make staff feel as though they are appreciated.

    I've also noticed comments from senior management popping up below reviews on this website recently.That upper management feels it's time is better spent attempting to refute the earnest concerns of staff in the comments section of glassdoor rather than spending time working to fix these issues speaks volumes abut this organization, and reflects very poorly on upper management.

    I sincerely do not believe Defenders will survive without a major change in culture and upper management.

  3. "Great opportunity"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Finance in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Finance in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Defenders of Wildlife full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    I worked at Defenders for one year in the finance department. During that time there was a considerable amount of turnover within the department, due to various circumstances. While things were shaky for a bit, I felt like I was given a great opportunity to learn and grow my position. I've seen several comments about upper management, but I never had any issues, especially being in a department that was always under the microscope due to staffing. The benefits seemed very competitive compared to other non-profits in the area. And there were multiple events that took place to boost organizational morale.

    Cons

    I'd have to say that had there been a better telework opportunity in place for the department I worked in, It may have swayed my decision to move on. I loved working and learning with this organization, but not being local to DC and not having the opportunity to telework heavily took its tole.

    Defenders of Wildlife Response

    Aug 1, 2016 – Chief Operating Officer

    Thank you for the feedback, and for your time with Defenders. I appreciate the feedback and it is helpful to us as we seek to attract and retain a diverse staff dedicated to the conservation of all... More


  4. Helpful (8)

    "Great mission but staff turnover often due to senior staff dysfunctional micromanagement"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook

    I worked at Defenders of Wildlife full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    Defenders was a leader known for its visionary and innovative actions and programs. There are still great people there but they have largely left or been intimidated by senior management.

    Cons

    Lots of turnover due to unhappy staff. Too many agency bureaucrats in senior management who are more committed to insulated layers of senior management and superficial fundraising than the mission of the organization. Once a leader among other NGOs but lost that edge due unnecessary micromanagement and insecurities at the very top level. Defenders is often unfocused, adrift, and many employees are afraid of senior management.

    Advice to Management

    The executive director and several of her senior staff have had plenty of opportunity to address their bad management issues but instead ignored them because they refuse to acknowledge their own failings and insecurities. Too insulated from constructive criticism. Seem poorly suited for NGO management as they don't either understand or appreciate what motivates good staff. Morale among long term staff members is much lower than it should be but that is commonly ignored. The organization needs new leadership and a trimmed back senior management team.

    Defenders of Wildlife Response

    Jun 10, 2016 – Chief Operating Officer

    Thank you for the feedback, and for your many years of service to Defenders. I appreciate the feedback and it is helpful to us as we seek to attract and retain a diverse staff dedicated to the... More


  5. Helpful (4)

    "No place is perfect"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook

    I have been working at Defenders of Wildlife full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Dedicated staff at all levels
    Finance department finally functioning well

    Cons

    Changing mission to be less species focused. New focus on habitat is duplicative of other organizations.

    Management apparently very comfortable with churn as nothing is done to stop it. Some moves are extraordinarily petty, like discontinuing the biweekly early Friday close in summer. 3 hours x 8 weeks would not destroy Defenders and it was a greatly appreciated perk.

    All recent high level openings have been filled by men. No qualified women out there?

    Advice to Management

    Stop signaling that "everyone is replaceable" and "if you don't like it, leave,."

    Defenders of Wildlife Response

    May 23, 2016 – Chief Operating Officer

    Thank you for the feedback, and for your years of service to Defenders. I appreciate the feedback and it is helpful to us as we seek to attract a diverse staff dedicated to the conservation of all... More


  6. Helpful (2)

    "Great People and mission"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Coordinator in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Coordinator in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Defenders of Wildlife (Less than a year)

    Pros

    wonderful staff dedicated to what they do

    Cons

    CEO is unfriendly and does not care about employees. "everyone is replaceable". At a non-profit, you expect to have some good benefits because of the low pay. Really hard to survive in DC at such a low salary but would have been able to justify working there if there were more benefits

    Defenders of Wildlife Response

    May 23, 2016 – Chief Operating Officer

    Thank you for the feedback, and for the time you spent with us. I appreciate the feedback and it is helpful to us as we seek to attract a diverse staff dedicated to the conservation of all wildlife... More


  7. Helpful (4)

    "Colleagues are great -- management not so much"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Defenders of Wildlife full-time

    Pros

    The mission -- to save wildlife and natural habitats. The staff -- especially in the program areas -- are excellent and fun to work with. The issues -- are always challenging and interesting.

    Cons

    Organization is too unfocused. Way too much staff in communications and marketing and not enough program staff especially in field offices actually doing things and not enough scientists to help ensure programs are effective. Organization is spread too thin and tries to do too much and loses effectiveness.

    Advice to Management

    Actually read and live by your mission statement. If you want Defenders to be a science-based organization, then hire real scientists and have them support and integrate with program staff.

  8. Helpful (7)

    "Great colleagues but can't overcome working environment"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Defenders of Wildlife full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    The employees are hard-working and dedicated to doing a good job and making sure the mission is accomplished – regardless of the part they play in supporting the organization. It’s possible to develop good working rapport and great friendships with coworkers.

    Cons

    Upper management doesn’t have the pulse of the employees and doesn’t make enough effort to 1) get to know employees across the organization 2) make the working atmosphere less stressful & demoralizing 3) support employees in doing their best, most efficient to achieve success. Employees have been let down numerous times by unfulfilled promises like award recognition, canceling organization summer picnic and other events.

    Benefits are good, but other perks have been removed including summer early-outs. It is not officially allowed to have tele-working flexibility – it varies by department. This is a cause of upset within the organization. Pay is on the low side and varies widely between positions. Promotions are difficult to come by in certain departments while others have quicker promotion opportunities. Employee turnover is incredibly high and has not been addressed yet by upper management.

    Some essential positions are over-loaded with work and don’t have enough support. On the other hand some mid and upper level employees have underperformed with no consequence causing issues, stress and additional work for other employees Change comes slowly if at all. Advice or comments to management don’t often result in action. There’s poor overall morale and a feeling that one is walking through a long dark tunnel with no light at end.

    Advice to Management

    Upper management should be engaged with employees across the spectrum more than once or twice a year. Get to know people! There should be an initiative to analyze organization-wide how departments interact and analyze how to make sure it’s effectively and efficiently done. Find ways to re-engage and motivate employees. Make sure new employees get started with a full picture of their role and duties. Focus on on-boarding within departments more. Find ways to fulfill promises and expectations. Address internal issues head-on instead of with meetings with conciliatory language. Invest in your employees and they will dedicate themselves to the mission.

    Recognizing you have a problem may be the first step, but ACTING to remedy the issues must follow close behind.


  9. Helpful (8)

    "The people, not the place"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    What stood out most to me is the people who worked at Defenders of Wildlife- its an energetic and passionate crowd who will engage you socially and treat you well. The work is something you can get behind, but you really need to be able to work with blinders on.

    Cons

    First, the upper management. The leadership has little to no investment in the individual employees. They pay no attention to the morale of the workforce, are too willing to let good talent walk, and will promote under performing employees just to keep their attrition rate around their self proclaimed 'industry standard'. Each small policy change might seem small on its own, but when viewed as a whole can be really damaging to an employee's spirit. Death by 1,000 cuts is still death.

    With a passionate workforce as engaged as the staff here, they end up spending too much time debating internally and not enough time working together to improve the organization.

    Advice to Management

    Realize people don't chose non-profits to become independently wealthy- they take pay cuts for other forms of compensation, like summer hours, personal days, and flexibility within the work week, but when you take those things away, there isn't a lot more keeping you around.

    Realize that you have a serious morale issue that comes from the top and fix that, or you'll continue to lose what is left of the good ones.


  10. Helpful (9)

    "Yes, mostly cons."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Defenders of Wildlife full-time

    Pros

    - Excellent work/life balance. No one expects you to work more than 40 hours a week or work late.
    - Casual dress code that everyone takes advantage of
    - If you ask for something like a toaster oven or a standing bistro table, they'll definitely get it for you.
    - Since turnover is so high, people get promoted quickly.

    Cons

    - Point blank: The CEO does not care about any of the employees. She uses the phrase "Everyone is replaceable" so much that all the stories have made their way around the office and morale has hit rock bottom.
    - There are lots of firings--some warranted and some not. There is a general paranoia that anyone can be fired at any time for any reason.
    - Employees are nickel and dimed and any opportunity to cut costs is taken. Many times positions are demoted in order to save a few thousand dollars. Although costs at the top seem to be spared.
    - Large wage gap between upper management and the rest of the organization.
    - Perks are disappearing. Summer early outs were taken away and the summer picnic was cancelled.
    - An HR suggestion box was set up to attempt to increase morale. All of the suggestions were mocked by the COO while he read them aloud except for the toaster oven suggestion, which was granted.
    - Work from home is heavily frowned upon and rarely granted.
    - During OPM snow delays, staff are expected to come into the office while upper management works from home.
    - Micromanaging that trickles down from the CEO level is a significant issue.

    Advice to Management

    - Good people cost money. Address the wage gap.
    - Treat people better---shouldn't be as hard as it is.
    - Stop micromanaging. Hire good people and let them do a good job.


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